Number 31 on the top 1000 films of all time is the French 2011 comedy-drama: the Intouchables, directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano.
Philippe (Francois Cluzet) is a billionaire Tetraplegic who whilst looking for a new live-in caregiver hires Driss (Omar Sy.) Driss is everything a good caregiver isn’t: immature, irresponsible, insensitive and all around a bit of jerk, but he is fun-loving, happy and is a good man at heart. As the film progresses, Driss shows Francoise how to have fun despite his disability, and Francoise realises how much he has loathed being fawned and mollycoddled over by his previous caregivers.
One of the best parts of this film is how it showcases a clashing of cultures between Philippe and Driss. Whilst Philippe is very sophisticated and cultured, filling his time visiting art galleries and attending operas, Driss smokes and rinks with his friends and attends job interviews, not because he wants the job, but so he can get his welfare checks signed. This clashing of cultures provides a lot of the film’s humour.
For example, when Driss takes Philippe to an art gallery, where the latter buys a painting for 41,000 euros, which is essentially nothing more then a few blotches of red paint on a white background, Driss makes his own painting by splattering a few paint colours on a white background which then sells for 11,000 euros. Another example comes from when Driss takes Philippe to an opera and Driss immediately bursts out laughing when he sees a character dressed up as a tree start singing.
Whilst Philippe tells him off at first, he soon starts to join in with Driss’ laughter. Even though, this clashing of cultures provides humour to the film, it also underlines the more emotionally poignant point of how despite Philippe has all of the material possessions he could ever dream off, he still feels very spiritually unfufilled. In some of the more interesting moments of the film, Philippe actually seems happiest not attending opera or listening to a classical orchestra, but smoking a joint with Driss.
Another theme that the film engages well in is family and poverty. Whilst Philippe shares an enormous mansion with his rebellious teenage daughter, Driss lives in a tiny flat with five or six of his little cousins and his aunt who is struggling to take care of them all. As well as family, the film also really engages well the theme of loyalty. Driss is deeply loyal to his family, even when they get mixed up with drug dealers and gang violence. Similarly, depsite it being revealed to Philippe that Driss has a criminal record, Philippe refuses to fire him, because Driss is his only ever caregiver who has never pitied him.
There was something about the film’s ending I didn’t like. I can see what they were trying to do in giving both Philippe and Driss happy yet ambiguous endings, but I’d’ve enjoyed seeing an ending that was more finite.
Whilst, I really enjoyed the comedy and drama involved in this film, the ambiguous ending stops it from being superlative